Is the Future of Work Remote?

Insights from GitLab's remote work survey.

Our friends at GitLab recently published their remote work survey. The full survey can be downloaded from here - for the reader in a rush we have extracted the key takeaways from the survey below.

‘‘Due to recent events surrounding the global health crisis COVID-19 (coronavirus), many teams face a new reality: They’re remote and unsure of when they’ll be able to return to the office. This playbook serves as a quick start guide to get your remote workforce up and running quickly and smoothly for short-term and long-term success.

As technology and internet access has improved, more of the world’s workforce opt to work from anywhere. GitLab’s Remote Work Report revealed that 86% of respondents believe remote work is the future of work. Today, a quarter of remote work settings are all-remote, where all employees work remotely and in their native time zone. In addition to employee benefits like flexibility and zero commute time, remote work employers consistently experience increased productivity, efficiency, and employee morale. In the words of Fast Company, “remote work isn’t going away anytime soon.”

Enabling a remote workforce is not “business as usual.” There are critical differences in managing in-office and remotely: communication, culture, and management must adjust. Luckily, remote work has rapidly increased over the years and there are several methods to make remote work a success.

Today, GitLab is the world’s largest all-remote workforce with 1,200+ employees across 67 countries, and we’ve been iterating and documentinghow to work remotely for years. This comprehensive guide contains our lessonslearned and proven methods on how to stabilize a remote workforce, divinginto topics including asynchronous workflows, meetings, communication,culture, and management.

From very early on, we started writing things down. Coming to the office] wasn’t needed. They weren’tgetting any extra information. They were on Slack, on Zoom, in Google Docs, in GitLab pages, in GitLab Issues, in GitLab merge requests – they didn’t need to be there’’. - Sid Sijbrandij, co-founder and CEO at GitLab

GitLab surveyed 3,000 adult professionals, aged 21 and older, who work remotely or have the option to work remotely and are in roles with digital output from January 30, 2020 to February 10, 2020.

GitLab Survey Summary

  • All-Remote is Surging All - remote is the purest form of remote work, with each team member on a level playing field. 43% of remote workers feel that it is important to work for a company where all employees are remote. Currently, more than 1 in 4 respondents belong to an all-remote organization, with no offices, embracing asynchronous workflows as each employee works in their own native time zone. An added 12% work all-remote with each employee synched to a company-mandated time zone.

  • Everyone Can Contribute - the true power of remote teams is unleashed when everyone is empowered to move the organization forward. 56% of remote workers said that everyone in their company can contribute to process, values, and company direction, with 50% also defaulting to shared documents and relying on meetings only as a last resort.

  • Debunking Remote Work Myths - remote workers aren’t all traveling nomads. Findings showed 38% saw lack of commute as a top benefit, with that time instead spent with family (43%), working (35%), resting (36%), and exercising (34%). Employees find themselves to overall be more productive (52%) and efficient (48%), with 74% of remote workers agreeing that their company lives by its values. Additionally, unlike traditionally thought, 52% of remote workers actually travel less.

  • Accessibility and Opportunity to Grow - working remotely have enabled employees to focus on their families without having to give up their career. 34% percent found the ability to care for family a top benefit of remote work, in addition to 53% citing schedule flexibility and 38% saying lack of commute. It was also found that, in place of commuting, 43% are able to spend more quality time with family — 55% of respondents having children under 18.

  • Remote Work Levels the Playing Field - 14% of remote workers surveyed have a disability or chronic illness and 83% of those workers were able to work because of remote work. Remote work levels the playing field: it fosters a better sense of work/life harmony and creates opportunity for everyone to contribute in the workplace.

  • Remote is Becoming Second Nature - nearly 90% of those surveyed are satisfied with existing tools and processes that enable remote team communications, and feels that their leadership team provides autonomy while working remotely.

  • Remote is Here to Stay - 86% of respondents believe remote work is the future. But it’s also the present, as evidenced by 84% of those surveyed saying that they are able to accomplish all of their tasks remotely right now.

  • Remote is the Ultimate Hiring Advantage - 62% of respondents said that they would consider leaving a co-located company for a remote role. Why? Everyone values remote benefits differently, from reduced anxiety to improved health to reduced office politics. Said another way, the freedom of remote universally matters for a remarkably diverse array of reasons.

  • The Work From Anywhere Opportunity - 47% said that managing at-home distractions were a top challenge. It’s time to phase out the phrase “work from home,” empowering team members to work from anywhere that they’re optimally productive. Reimbursing for co-working spaces and external offices is a good place to start.

  • All The Feels - nearly half of those surveyed consider themselves “Lucky” to work remotely, with Practical, Valued, Smart, and Proud rounding out the top 5. Fewer than 10% associated with the terms Alone, Tired and Misunderstood.

  • Remote ≠ Alone - when in-person interactions are intentional, as is the case in a remote setting, they matter more. 82% of remote workers say their company supports in-person gatherings through events, summits, meet-ups, and more. Meanwhile, 66% are already connected to remote work communities.

The Remote Worker Profile

Image source: extracted from GitLab’s survey.

GitLab Remote Playbook

GitLab also recently published their remote work playbook that can be downloaded directly from here - without the need to fill out your email address!;)

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